The Mountain Times

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Letter to the Editor 2.9

Dear Editor,

Vermont Strong or forever powerless through CVPS-GMP merger?

Is the disappearance of CVPS, the sole privately-owned Vermont utility, into a merger with Green Mountain Power and Gaz Metro really in Vermont's best interest?

It's touted as beneficial to Vermont and the CVPS stockholders, but who will ultimately profit? The actual ownership is nothing small and local, but a serpentine mass of huge Canadian corporations, starting with Gaz Metro, a Quebec corp, which owns GMP. GMi owns 70.99% of Gaz Metro, and Valener owns the remaining 29.9 %. Noverco, Inc. owns GMi. Caisse de Depot et Placement owns 61.1% of Noverco, while Enbridge owns the remaining 38%. (Enbridge had 80 liquid pipeline spills in 2010, including 1,000,000 gallons in Michigan.)

Confused? Justifiably so - it's extremely complex, convoluted, and unpublicized by Mary Powell (GMP) and Lawrence Reilly (CVPS) both new players in Vermont energy; Reilly is also Chairman of the Board of Vt. Yankee, bringing nuclear power into the mix through Entergy, in partnership with Koch Industries.  

The plan also includes gas: Valener and Boralex own Vermont Gas Systems. NNEEC ( Northern New England Energy Corp.) owns GMP, and Portland Gas Systems. Gaz Metro owns all of them. One wonders how long this plan has been in the works - put in place by the 1%, while we, the 99% Vermonters, are the last to know, and stand to lose the most.

This electric utility merger would be a major consolidation of the Vermont energy infrastructure (gas and electricity), and all placed into Canadian ownership. What if GMP, Gaz Metro, GMi, Valener, Noverco and Trenco get gobbled up by yet another giant foreign corporation, perhaps Chinese, so that the ownership and interest would be even further removed?

We Vermonters will be subject to decisions made by Canadian shareholders. Do we really want to lose control over our own power and electricity? GMP needs CVPS, as CVPS has many more customers and covers more areas across Vermont than GMP, but CVPS does not need GMP. It has operated very successfully on its own for many years, respected for its integrity and service.

Once CVPS is gone, it will be gone forever.  It's not too late, as the merger may be terminated if the acquisition not consummated by July 11, 2012.

Read the 211 page document and decide if we want Vermont's electricity in Canada's hands, or if we choose energy independence and conservation. Speak out, and fight for energy independence for Vermont!

Bethany Barry Menkart, Leicester resident

Tagged: Bethany Barry Menkart, Letter to the Editor, CVPS, GMP